A Chinese banquet is a long, extravagant affair. Usually reserved for special occasions like weddings, Chinese New Year, and big birthdays (like, your great grandmother turns 90…that kind of big), there’s a certain procedure that gets followed.
You go to a big restaurant in Chinatown, sit at a table of 10-12 people, and eat a 10 to 12 course meal that usually includes things like a cold appetizer platter, shrimp, lobster, roasted chicken or duck, and a whole steamed fish. The order is fairly predictable, but the dishes can vary. Maybe you get the chicken instead of the duck. Maybe it’s abalone instead of shrimp. You might get an extra dish of steak thrown in, and then it’s a real party.
But what’s always predictable is the two dishes that come out at the end. Just in case you weren’t filled up by all that protein and vegetable, they never fail to bring out two carb-filled dishes of long life noodles and banquet fried rice. Usually, no one quite has the real estate left in their stomachs for this starch-fest by the time it arrives to the table. By then, you’re ready to get rolled out of the restaurant a la Violet-Beauregarde from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate factory.
What ends up happening is that they bring out a bunch of take-out boxes and bags, and you load it all up to take home. Of course, the next day, after you’ve quite recovered from the elaborate meal from the night before, it’s good stuff…especially with a bit of hot chili oil.
We’re calling this dish “banquet fried rice,” because this is our version of that post-banquet rice that you look forward to popping in the microwave the next day. The advantage of making it at home, of course, is that it’s super simple, and you get to eat it fresh (plus, you don’t have to consume 1000 calories the night before to acquire it).
We’ve gone through it step-by-step here, but you can also scroll down to the bottom for the full recipe.
So let’s get started:
You’re going to need some cooked rice, two eggs, and a handful each of onion, carrot, scallion, ham, and peas.
Beat your eggs.
(Dad was home for a week from Beijing, so he’ll be doing all the cooking in this here segment.)
Jake likes to sit and/or nap by our feet every time we’re at the stove.
We think it’s because of all the smells coming off the stove. Or maybe he just feels it’s his duty as the family dog to keep our feet warm at all times.
Once you’re ready, heat your wok over medium-high heat and add some oil. Throw in the egg and scramble it up.
Take it out and set it aside for later.
Put some more oil into the pan and cook your onion and carrot for a couple minutes.
Then add the ham and let it crisp up a bit.
Then add your peas.
And the rice. Give it some good stirring action.
Then add salt.
Some white pepper.
A splash of soy sauce. Don’t go overboard with this! A couple teaspoons should do it.
Then stir your egg back in.
Add the scallion.
Stir it until it’s all combined and until…it just feels right. Don’t worry. You’ll know.
Then serve up your homemade Chinese banquet fried rice!
Here’s the condensed, printable version of the recipe:
Chinese Banquet Fried Rice
- Heat a splash of oil in your wok over medium high heat. Scramble your eggs and set aside.
- Add a bit more oil to the pan and cook your onions and carrots for about 2 minutes, or until slightly soft.
- Add your ham and stir-fry for an additional 2 minutes.
- Add peas and rice. Stir-fry to warm everything through.
- Season with salt, white pepper, and soy sauce. Stir in scallions.
- Continue to stir fry for another 3 minutes. Serve!